Military Preparation: How to Be a Good Military Recruit


Preparation is key to any professional challenge in the future of a candidate or recruit. Whether it is for military, police, firefighter or any other job-interview process, a candidate should know as much as they can about job options.

For those considering military service, walking into a recruiter's office and joining any branch that will have you on a whim is the beginning of a long journey that you may not fully enjoy. If that's the case, you might miss out on some of the great benefits of military service.

If you want to serve, do your homework and learn the administration process of becoming a member to help land your "dream job." Does that process require elevated physical fitness standards? You should start training immediately and become a competitive recruit in all areas of tactical fitness to get to and through the selection program.

You also may need to prepare academically by finishing school or taking extra courses. And there is always the issue of becoming mentally tough to endure the challenges that await you, no matter what job you aspire to obtain.

Here is a list of responsibilities that fall on the recruit's shoulders.

1. Know What You Want to Do

The last thing you want to do is walk into a recruiter's office and ask them, "What do I qualify to do?" You should know what you want to do; otherwise, the military will find a job for you that is typically difficult to fill. "The Needs of the Navy" will be fulfilled when the recruit leaves it up to the recruiter to tell them what they can do.

2. Prepare

Mental and physical preparation are essential to graduate and earn certain jobs in the military. See the fitness page for more ideas on training for any military job, even special ops related that require some mental toughness.

3. Take Some Initiative

One of the first things you will learn in the military is "The Message to Garcia." It's all about taking initiative and figuring out solutions to problems in any situation. It is easier than ever now to find information, but you need to make sure you get reliable and up-to-date information on the recruiting process and the job training thereafter.

See the official Military websites and start your research.

Notice the webpages above. They are filled with cool jobs that show special ops of each branch, pilots, soldiers shooting guns, Marines doing hand-to-hand combat, and the Coast Guard taking out drug smugglers. These are all great jobs and you can be a part of them, but you need to prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead.

4. Understand the Training Pipeline

No matter what you want to do in the military, you need to learn how the process works. Where is the training? How long is the school? What phases train different elements of the job? What is the success/fail rate?

Have some discussions with people who have been through the training. If you know there are many miles of running and rucking, you should prepare now. If you know there are long swims and pool evolutions that challenge even an experienced swimmer's water confidence, you should swim or take lessons now. Don't trust people's stories about training unless they have done the training themselves. Some of the worst rumors typically are created and perpetuated by people who do not know. 

5. You Have a Need to Know

You need to know the process 100%, and when a recruiter tells you something you are unfamiliar with, verify it. Do not sign anything in a recruiter's office until you read it thoroughly. Most recruiters are solid and very helpful with the processes of joining any job in their branch of service, but you may find a few in your path that do not know the correct path or flat-out lie to you about it. Yes, it does happen. That is not some urban legend, and it still happens today.

6. Know More Than the Recruiter

Whenever you can make someone's job easier, it works for everyone in the process -- including you. Show up prepared, knowing what you want to do and ready to pass medical review process, ASVAB and the PT test on day one.

It is not the recruiter's (or spec-ops mentor's) job to get you in shape. They will help you and test your abilities before departing for the military, but it is on you to train hard, mentally prepare and learn the system as best you can before shipping out. The more you know before you even talk to a recruiter, the better the entire process of getting into the military, earning the job you want and enjoying your military career will be.

To be a good recruit, you have to be prepared with knowledge, physical abilities and be mature enough to realize you do not know everything yet. Start learning.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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